Reminiscing

I was sitting down discussing with my granddaughter how we’re going to approach what will become an author interview.

We were talking about how old I was when it was I first wrote a story, and what was that story about.

OK, that sent me back a long way into the distant past.

There was also a trick question; “What was the first story you read that put you on the path to wanting to become a writer”.

That was easy, Alistair Maclean’s HMS Ulysses.  I showed her a copy of the book.

But, back to the main question.

Grandparents are old, I said, older than your parents, so that should give you some idea.

When did I start writing, that required a little thought, and there were several triggers that gave me a date, where we lived at the time, the fact I used my mother’s old portable typewriter, and the fact I had not been long out of school.  I was, in fact, about 17.  It was 45 years ago; I’ll let you do the math!

What was it about; that I couldn’t tell her, but I said I had rescued a lot of old scribbling of mine and put them in a box to look at later when I had the time.

I guess that time had arrived.

And, yes, there was the book, the individually typed pages, some with corrections, unfinished.

The pages were brown with age.

The story, well, I read the first few pages, and it seems I’d started down the thriller path then, the story so far, an agent comes ashore from a trawler to a bleak and isolated village, perhaps on the Scottish coast,

The next question, understandably; “What was the first book you ever finished?”  That was The Starburst Conspiracy, soon to be published on Amazon.

It also led to a few more discoveries, including a book I had forgotten I’d written. And all of the short stories I’d written when at University.

The interview is proceeding.

The memories it is bringing about my earliest forays into the world of writing are priceless.

It’s all about the Cover

And, of course, the description.

Probably one of the hardest things for a first-time author is not so much the writing but what is needed after the book is written.

You need a good description.  Short, sharp, incisive!

There’s a ream of advice out there, and I have read it all.

And, still, I got it wrong.

Then there is the cover.

I wanted simplistic, a short description to give the reader a taste of what’s in store, and let the story speak for itself.

No.

Apparently, a good cover will attract the reader to the book.

When I tendered my books on various sites to advertise them, sites such as Goodreads, and ThirdScribe, all was well with what I had done.

Then I submitted my books to a third site and they rejected the covers as too simplistic and the descriptions mundane, and wouldn’t post them.

Wow.

There’s a huge blow to the ego.  And just the sort of advice that would make a writer think twice about even bothering to continue.

But…

Perhaps the person who wrote that critique was being cruel to be kind.

At any rate, I am changing the covers, and rewording the descriptions.

Will it be a case of ‘what a difference a cover makes’?

Schedule, what schedule?

There are good days and there are bad days

Today is a bad day.

You know how it works, the night before you set out everything you’re going to do.

What could go wrong?

All those irritating little things have been taken care of, especially so you could spend this one day so you can ‘stick to the schedule’.

Those re-writes you were working on last night are just not coming together.

The three phone calls, the urgent request for a small job, the family member with a crisis (and how often is that crisis a storm in a teacup) and to top it off, the cat got shut out is now howling at the back door.

Concentration?  Gone!

Picture next morning.

No distractions.

Computer on, pages sitting in front of you, phone off the hook, no annoying calls, ideas are flowing.

You start…

The monitor dies.

Maybe tomorrow…

 

I am my own worst enemy!

I think most authors are.

Just when you think that the story is done, and you’re on the third re-read, just to make sure…

Damn!

I don’t like the way that scene reads.

It doesn’t matter the last three times you read it, it was just fine, or, the editor has read it and the scene passed without comment.

What is the matter with me?

I find sometimes after leaving a finished story for a month before the next reading, the whole picture must formulate itself in my head, so when I re-read, there was always a problem, one I didn’t want to think about until the re-read.

Even then it might survive a second pass.

I know the scene is in trouble when I get to it and alarm bells are going off.  I find anything else to do but look at it.

So, here I am, third re-read, making major changes.

At least now I am satisfied with it.

Only 325 pages to go!

I’m in training for NaNoWriMo

It’s frightening to think that I have to write 50,000 words in 30 days.

Yet I have done it before, last November in fact.  But I believed then I couldn’t do it but persevered and I surprised myself and finished up with a novel titled ‘The Enemy Within’.

Rather apt I thought at the time, writers are always battling those inner demons!

But this year, I’m in for the challenge once again.

Usually, I sit down and start writing, not sure where it’s going to take me.  Some say a book needs to be meticulously planned,

Characters planned down to their foibles,

Plot lines to drive the characters, adding twists and turns until the surprise ending that no one saw coming.

Even me.

All in 30 days?

Another issue I have is that when I start writing, it is not necessarily the ‘start’.

Some of my stories in the rewrite, or even when I’m halfway through, suddenly cry out for a new start, something relative to the plot earlier, or a missed detail will come to you, usually in the most unlikely place, and this for me is the shower.

This can cause a cascade of rewrites of earlier chapters.

Nothing a little planning might have resolved, but there will not be time.

Once again, it’s going to be a challenge.

At least I have a title, ‘The Document’.

I have the basis for the central character, a man who’s been existing, not living.  I have a clear idea of where it will end, but that could change as the story progresses.

I basically know where and when it will start.  I’ve always like the start to the James Bond films, that short period when the action of pulsating just before the credits, a small slice of what’s to come, but not today.  This is going to be a gentle nudge.

What’s in between?

That will be topics for November.  What I’ve written and where it’s going, if I have time.

Stay tuned.

 

“The Things We Do For Love” – Coming soon

Like Sunday in New York, this is another attempt at writing a romance novel.  I’m one of those deluded fools who believe in happy endings.

I guess that was a ‘spoiler’!

This is the description I’m currently working with.

 

Is love the metaphorical equivalent to ‘walking the plank’; a dive into uncharted waters.

For Henry the only romance he was interested in was a life at sea, and when away from it, he strived to find sanctuary from his family and perhaps life itself.  Tonbright, a small village by the sea, is one such a place, but he never expected to find another, Michelle, whom he soon discovers is as mysterious as she is beautiful.

Henry had long since given up the notion of finding romance, and Michelle couldn’t get involved for reasons she could never explain, but in the end both acknowledge that something had happened.  Plans were made, plans were revised, and hopes were shattered.

A chance encounter causes Michelle’s past to catch up with her, and whatever hope she had of having a normal life with Henry, or anyone else, is gone.  To keep him alive she has to destroy her blossoming relationship, an act that breaks her heart and shatters his.

But can love conquer all?

It takes a few words of encouragement from an unlikely source to send Henry and his friend Radly on an odyssey into the darkest corners of the red light district in a race against time to find and rescue the woman he finally realizes is the love of his life.

 

The cover, at the moment, looks like this:

lovecoverfinal1

 

“Sunday in New York”, it’s a bumpy road to love

“Sunday in New York” is ultimately a story about trust, and what happens when a marriage is stretched to its limits.

When Harry Steele attends a lunch with his manager, Barclay, to discuss a promotion that any junior executive would accept in a heartbeat, it is the fact his wife, Alison, who previously professed her reservations about Barclay, also agreed to attend, that casts a small element of doubt in his mind.

From that moment, his life, in the company, in deciding what to do, his marriage, his very life, spirals out of control.

There is no one big factor that can prove Harry’s worst fears, that his marriage is over, just a number of small, interconnecting events, when piled on top of each other, points to a cataclysmic end to everything he had believed in.

Trust is lost firstly in his best friend and mentor, Andy, who only hints of impending disaster, Sasha, a woman whom he saved, and who appears to have motives of her own, and then in his wife, Alison, as he discovered piece by piece damning evidence she is about to leave him for another man.

Can we trust what we see with our eyes or trust what we hear?

Haven’t we all jumped to conclusions at least once in our lives?

Can Alison, a woman whose self-belief and confidence is about to be put to the ultimate test, find a way of proving their relationship is as strong as it has ever been?

As they say in the classics, read on!

Purchase:

http://tinyurl.com/Amazon-SundayInNewYork

Sunday In New York